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Faculty Member - Clinical Psychology

Catherine Epkins, Ph.D.

Position:

Associate Professor

Education:

Ph.D. Clinical Psychology, 1991, University of Memphis

Contact:

Phone: (806) 834-1877

Fax: (806) 742-0818

Email: catherine.epkins@ttu.edu

Professional Service:

Editorial Boards: Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology (January 2013 to present); Child Psychiatry and Human Development (January 2013 to present); Journal of Family Psychology (January 2010 to present); Psychological Assessment (January 2007 to December 2009); Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology (The Official Journal for the Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, American Psychological Association, Division 53) (1999-2005); and Journal of Social and Personal Relationships (2002-2005)

Research Interests:

I have 2 main areas of research. The first area focuses on childhood depression and anxiety (or social anxiety). I am primarily interested in delineating the common and differentiating features of depression and social anxiety in 4 areas: 1) social aspects (e.g., social competence, social skills, friendships and peer relationships, social acceptance/rejection, social support, loneliness); 2) cognitive aspects [e.g., negative or distorted views of self, and cognitive distortions and negative attributions in a wide range of situations children encounter (i.e., social, academic, athletic, etc.); cognitive vulnerability to depression and anxiety; information-processing]; 3) family aspects (e.g., parent-child relationships; family support; family, marital, and sibling relationships; modeling parents’ behavior); and 4) affective/biological-behavioral/physiological (negative and positive affect; temperament; physical/somatic/physiological symptoms, sleep, etc.).  The overall focus is on the integration or interaction of these areas (social, cognitive, family, affective/physiological) and how they are related to children’s depression and anxiety, but also how they may be differentially related to depression and anxiety.  My research integrates cognitive, interpersonal, affective, and competency-based models of child depression with applications or extensions to children's anxiety (particularly social anxiety).  My second area of research focuses on multiple informant (children, mothers, fathers, teachers, peers, siblings) assessment of children's behavioral/emotional problems and competencies. Here I am interested in delineating "what variables" contribute to discrepancies (or differences) between different informants' reports on children's behavior, and more importantly “why”? The main areas I have been focusing on are: 1) the informants' own psychological symptoms (e.g., depression, anxiety, anger, general psychological problems, stress, etc.); and 2) the relationship between the informant and the child being assessed (e.g., positive and negative aspects of the relationship such as support, affection, conflict, hostility, acceptance/rejection in the informant-child relationship; time spent together, etc.). As in my first main area of research, issues with respect to comorbidity and "specificity" of symptom/behavior type are highly emphasized.  Differences in informants' reports on children's behavior are commonplace in clinical practice as well as in research on psychopathology, assessment, and treatment.  My ultimate aim with this line of research is to contribute to an empirical base that will inform both applied and research child-clinical assessment and diagnostic practice, and thus improve clinical practice and treatment of children.

Selected Research:

  • Romero Ralph, L., & Epkins, C. C. (under review). Examining girls’ internalizing problems, perceived similarity, and perceived friendship quality from a similarity-attraction and attraction-similarity framework. (Based in part on dissertation of Leslie Romero Ralph)
  • Scanlon, N. M, & Epkins, C. C. (under review). Aspects of mothers’ parenting: Independent and specific relations to children’s depression, anxiety, and social anxiety symptoms. (Based, in part, on Masters level research project of N. Scanlon)
  • Epkins, C. C., Gardner, C., & Scanlon, N. (2013, in press, published online June). Rumination and anxiety sensitivity in preadolescent girls: Independent, combined, and specific associations with depressive and anxiety symptoms. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment. doi:10.1007/s10862-013-9360-7
  • Gardner, C. E., & Epkins, C. C. (2012). Girls’ rumination and anxiety sensitivity: Are they related after controlling for girl, maternal, and parenting factors? Child and Youth Care Forum, 41, 561-578. doi:10.1007/s10566-012-9188-4 (Based on data collected with the data for C. Gardner’s Masters level research project)
  • Chong, J., Epkins, C. C., Gardner, C. E., Scanlon, N. M., Clark, J, & Schlabaugh, J. (2013, November). Girls' Rumination and Mothers' Accepting/Rejecting Parenting: Combined and Unique Relations to Girls' Depression Versus Anxiety. Poster accepted for presentation at the 47th annual convention of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, Nashville, TN.
  • Epkins, C. C., Gardner, C. E., Scanlon, N. M., Clark, J., & Schlabaugh, J. (2013, November). Rumination and Anxiety Sensitivity in Preadolescent Girls: Unique and Specific Associations with Depression and Anxiety. Poster accepted for presentation at the 47th annual convention of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, Nashville, TN.
  • Harper, S. L., Epkins, C. C., Marnell, M., Hester, N. R., & Rozea, H. (2013, November). Aspects of Mothers' and Fathers' Parenting: Specificity to Mothers' and Fathers' Depression Versus Anxiety. Poster accepted for presentation at the 47th annual convention of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, Nashville, TN.
  • Hoffmann, J., Epkins, C. C., Blount, T. H., Graziano, S., Clark, J., & Abraham, T. (2013, November). Mother and Peer Acceptance/Rejection: Unique and Specific Relations to Girls' Depression Versus Social Anxiety. Poster accepted for presentation at the 47th annual convention of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, Nashville, TN.
  • Seegan, P. L. & Epkins, C. C. (2013, November). Specificity of the Competency-Based Model of Depression to Depression Versus Social Anxiety in Clinic-Referred Youth. Poster accepted for presentation at the 47th annual convention of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, Nashville, TN.
  • Blount, T. H., Epkins, C. C., Graziano, S., Clark, J. & Abraham, T. (2012, August). Girls’ Cognitive Vulnerability: Contributions of Mothers’ Depression, Cognitions, and Parenting. Poster presented at the 120th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, Orlando, FL.
  • Epkins, C. C., Blount, T. H., Graziano, S., Clark, J. & Abraham, T. (2012, August). Parenting and Cognitive Vulnerability: Specificity to Depression Versus Social Anxiety. Poster presented at the 120th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, Orlando, FL.
  • Epkins, C. C., Heckler, D. R., Scanlon, N. M., Carroll, M., Kelly, S., & Clark, J. (2012, August). Experiential Avoidance and Anxiety Sensitivity: Unique to Anxiety Versus Depression? Poster presented at the 120th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, Orlando, FL.
  • Harper, S. L., Epkins, C. C., Scanlon, N., Heckler, D. R., Carroll, M., Kelly, S. & Clark, J. (2012, August). Aspects of Mothers’ Parenting: Specificity to Mothers’ Depression Versus Anxiety. Poster presented at the 120th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, Orlando, FL.
  • Heckler, D. R., Epkins, C. C., Scanlon, N. M., Carroll, M., Kelly, S., & Clark, J. (2012, August). Mothers’ Contingent Reactions and Children’s Anxiety/Depression: Does Emotion Regulation Moderate? Poster presented at the 120th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, Orlando, FL.
  • Heckler, D. R., Epkins, C. C., Scanlon, N. M., Carroll, M., Kelly, S., & Clark, J. (2012, August). Parenting and Internalizing Problems: Do Experiential Avoidance and/or Emotional Regulation Mediate? Poster presented at the 120th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, Orlando, FL.
  • Hoskinson, C. H., Epkins, C. C., Harper, S., Schneider, J., & Ojeda, K. (2012, August). Mood-Induced Interpretations of Ambiguity and Girls’ Anxiety Versus Depression. Poster presented at the 120th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, Orlando, FL.
  • Epkins, C. C. & Heckler, D. R. (2011). Integrating etiological models of social anxiety and depression in youth: Evidence for a cumulative interpersonal risk model. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 14, 329-376. doi:10.1007/s10567-011-0101-8
  • Epkins, C. C., Gardner, C. E., Scanlon, N. M., & Schlabaugh, J. A. (2010, November). Examining the Relation between Mothers’ and Girls’ Anxiety Sensitivity: The Role of Depression, Time Spent Together and Maternal Rejection and Hostility. Poster presented at the 44th annual convention of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, San Francisco, CA.
  • Epkins, C. C., Johnson, L., Soenning, S. A., & Heckler, D. R. (2009, November). Aspects of Anxiety Sensitivity in Children: Unique and Specific Associations with Social Anxiety and Depressive Symptoms. Poster presented at the 43rd Annual Convention of the Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, New York, NY.
  • Epkins, C. C., Johnson, L., Soenning, S. A., & Heckler, D. R. (2009, November). Cognitive Errors and Anxiety Sensitivity in Children: Unique and Specific Associations with Social Anxiety and Depressive Symptoms. Poster presented at the 43rd Annual Convention of the Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, New York, NY.
  • Epkins, C. C., & Trevathan, M. E. (2008, November). Are mothers' psychological symptoms related to their reports of their own children’s, and hypothetical children’s, internalizing and externalizing behavior? Poster session presented at the 42nd Annual Convention of the Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, Orlando, FL.
  • Epkins, C. C., Hutcherson, S. T., & Pollard Graziano, S. (2008, November).  Are third and fourth grade teachers’ psychological symptoms related to their ratings of hypothetical children’s internalizing and externalizing behavior? Poster session presented at the 42nd Annual Convention of the Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, Orlando, FL.
  • Epkins, C. C., & Davis, K. A. (2008, November). Does children’s perceived social support mediate and/or moderate social and academic competence-depression relations? Poster session presented at the 42nd Annual Convention of the Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, Orlando, FL.
  • Davis, K. A., & Epkins, C. C. (2009).  Do private religious practices moderate the relation between family conflict and preadolescents’ depression and anxiety symptoms? Journal of Early Adolescence, 29, 693-717. (Based, in part, on Master’s level research project of K. Davis)
  • Hutcherson, S. T, & Epkins, C. C. (2009). Differentiating parent- and peer-related interpersonal correlates of depressive symptoms and social anxiety in preadolescent girls. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 26, 875-897. (Based, in part, on Master’s level  research project of S. Hutcherson)
  • Blount, T. H, & Epkins, C. C. (2009). Exploring modeling-based hypotheses in preadolescent girls’ and boys’ cognitive vulnerability to depression. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 33, 110-125.  (Based, in part, on Master’s level research project of T. Blount)
  • Romero, L. E., & Epkins, C. C. (2008). Girls’ cognitions of hypothetical friends: Are they related to depression, loneliness, social anxiety and perceived similarity? Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 25, 311-332. (Based, in part, on Master’s level research project of L. Romero).
  • Stednitz, J. N., & Epkins, C. C. (2006). Girls’ and mothers’ social anxiety, social skills, and loneliness: Associations after accounting for depressive symptoms. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 35, 148-154. (Based, in part, on Dissertation of J. Stednitz).
  • Treutler, C. M., & Epkins, C. C. (2003). Are discrepancies among child, mother, and father reports on children's behavior related to parents' psychological symptoms and aspects of parent-child relationships?  Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 31, 13-27. (Based on Dissertation of C. Treutler)
  • Frey, E. D., & Epkins, C. C. (2002). Examining cognitive models of externalizing and internalizing problems in subgroups of juvenile delinquents.  Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 31, 556-566. (Based on Dissertation of E. Frey)
  • Epkins, C. C. (2004, November). Specificity of cognitive and affective models of internalizing problems to depression and/or social anxiety in a clinic sample of youth. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for the Advancement of Behavior Therapy, New Orleans, LA.

Teaching Interests and Activities:

Member of the TTU Teaching Academy (since 1998).

Graduate courses:

  • Developmental Psychopathology
  • Child/Adolescent Assessment
  • Introduction to Child/Adolescent and Family Treatment Approaches
  • Introduction to Psychosocial Treatment Approaches (focus on cognitive-behavioral and family systems approaches)
  • Advanced Clinical Practicum

Undergraduate courses:

  • Abnormal Child Psychology

Clinical Interests and Activities:

  • Child, adolescent, and family therapy
  • Parent training groups
  • Child/adolescent psychological assessment

Student Research Projects:

Representive titles of dissertations:

  • An Examination of the Relations between Mood-Induced Interpretations of Ambiguity, Cognitive Errors, and Girls’ Symptoms of Anxiety Versus Depression (Cassondra Hoskinson, defended March 2013)
  • Mothers’ Parenting of Children’s Emotions: Exploring the Role of Emotion Regulation, Experiential Avoidance, and Affective Symptoms (David Heckler, defended June 2012)
  • Do Girls’ Threat Appraisals, Self-Blame Appraisals, and/or Anxiety Sensitivity Mediate the Relation between Marital Conflict and Girls’ Depression Versus Anxiety?  (Meghan Goodrich, defended June 2012)
  • The Relation between Mothers’ and Daughters’ Social Comparisons and Internalizing Symptomatology: Cognitive and Familial Moderators and Mediators (Tabatha Blount, defended May 2011)
  • Perceived Older Sibling Support and Familism as Moderators of the Relations between Diabetes Stress and Social Competency and Psychological Functioning in Youth with Type 1 Diabetes. (Kelly Davis, defended May 2010)
  • Perceived Similarity and Internalizing Problems in Relation to Friendship Quality and Friend-Related Cognitions (Leslie Romero, defended June 2010)